Mini Reviews

Hello!

For my first mini reviews of 2021, I’m catching up a few stragglers from last year as well as some early reads this year. There is a mixture of non-fiction, historical fiction and fantasy, as well as children’s, YA and Adult in the mix.

Mini reviews will differ slightly from the longer reviews in that they will only receive a rating badge, rather than featuring a quote and highlighted aspect badge, otherwise these posts would end up even longer than they already are.

“Disclaimer – I received an e-arc via netgalley for these in exchange for an honest review, all thoughts are my own.”

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Norsevember Wrap- up

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I can’t believe that we’re already at the end of November! It comes with bittersweet feelings, because on one hand I can now thoroughly embrace the festive spirit – Christmas music is going on at work tomorrow!! – on the other, today is St Andrews Day and were it not the year of Covid I would be attending a Street Ceilidh, torch-lit procession and fireworks. I will however, be indulging in haggis, neeps and tatties and blast some Ceilidh music while I do so.

Tomorrow, I will be sharing my November wrap-up post and looking at what’s on for December. Today however is all about Norsevember, and will actually be my main post for the month as life (and my blasted knees) have got in the way and derailed most of my November plans.

Firstly a massive shoutout to Alex at Spells and Spaceships for organising this event, and for all his amazing posts over the month which have been a much needed bright spot. Also, thank you again for this lovely bookmark that I won from one of the giveaways.

Secondly, I managed to read all but one of the books from my Norsevember TBR, but hadn’t managed to review them yet, so below you will find those reviews (hence the fact that this is a veeeery long post). They turned out to be a mixed bag, with some that I absolutely adored and others I absolutely hated, and some snuck in that weren’t even on the TBR to start with (as is always the way, right?)

Posts:

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Book Review: These Violent Delights (These Violent Delights #1) – Chloe Gong

Gray Dragon Statue

Hello!

Today I am delighted to be reviewing These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong which will be released in three days on the 17th, and one that I will certainly be snagging a physical copy of because it is a beautiful book inside and out.

Disclaimer – I received an e-arc via netgalley in exchange for an honest review

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Book Summary:

The year is 1926, and Shanghai hums to the tune of debauchery.

A blood feud between two gangs runs the streets red, leaving the city helpless in the grip of chaos. At the heart of it all is eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, a former flapper who has returned to assume her role as the proud heir of the Scarlet Gang—a network of criminals far above the law. Their only rivals in power are the White Flowers, who have fought the Scarlets for generations. And behind every move is their heir, Roma Montagov, Juliette’s first love…and first betrayal.

But when gangsters on both sides show signs of instability culminating in clawing their own throats out, the people start to whisper. Of a contagion, a madness. Of a monster in the shadows. As the deaths stack up, Juliette and Roma must set their guns—and grudges—aside and work together, for if they can’t stop this mayhem, then there will be no city left for either to rule.

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Book Review: The Bell in the Lake (The Sister Bells #1) – Lars Mytting

Hello!
The first post for today is a review of The Bell in the Lake by Lars Mytting, a historical novel in translation, which was one of those books that called to me and I ended up enjoying even more than I expected.

*Disclaimer – I received an e-arc via netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

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Book Summary:

Norway, 1880. In the secluded village of Butangen at the end of the valley, headstrong Astrid dreams of a life beyond marriage, hard work and children. And then Pastor Kai Schweigaard comes into her life, taking over the 700-year-old stave church with its carvings of pagan deities. The two church bells were forged by her forefather in the sixteenth century, in memory of conjoined sisters Halfrid and Gunhild Hekne, and are said to have supernatural powers. But now the pastor wants to tear it down, to replace it with a modern, larger church. Though Astrid is drawn to him, this may be a provocation too far.

Talented architecture student Gerhard Schönauer arrives from Dresden to oversee the removal of the church and its reconstruction in the German city. Everything about elegant Schönauer is so different, so cosmopolitan. Astrid must make a choice: for her homeland and the pastor, or for a daunting and uncertain future in Germany.

Then the bells begin to toll . . .

Translated from the Norwegian by Deborah Dawkin

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Blog Tour (Book Review) – A Plague on Both Your Houses – Ian Porter

A Plague on Both Your Houses banner V2

Hello!

Today is my stop on the blog tour for ‘A Plague on Both Your Houses’ by Ian Porter, organised by Damppebbles Blog Tours. I was delighted to participate in this tour, and I hope that you will check out both the author and the book.

*Disclaimer: ‘I was given a copy this book in exchange for an honest review.’*

A Plague on Both Your Houses

Book Summary:

It’s May 1918. The Great War is finally coming to a conclusion. The German Spring Offensive appears to be winning the war before the recent arrival into Europe of American troops can have any military effect.

But the German Home Front is struggling. The Allied blockade of foodstuffs; a poor government and a potato blight have left the German people hungry and angry. In comparison, the introduction of rationing proves a great boon to morale in Britain. And just in time too. Because the American troops have brought with them something far more deadly than their own firepower. A deadly mutated flu virus.

In the East End of London, Mr & Mrs Nash have not bought into the war. He’s a tough ex-villain who hides conscientious objectors from the authorities. But the government’s net appears to be drawing in on him. She helps Sylvia Pankhurst run a nursery, restaurant cum soup kitchen and a toy factory, as well as badger officialdom to give more help to people. And as an ex-Suffragette she knows how to both use and circumvent the law when it suits her.

In the East End of Berlin, a nurse, a farmer, a black marketer, a soldier home on leave and a rich woman with a chauffeuse are all woven together as the Germany Home Front starts to collapse into starvation, retribution and rioting. Germany can’t fight the British, the flu and themselves.

It’s a fast paced page-turner, full of action and personal relationships, as the two stories and the people of two countries come together to solve a huge problem the war and the flu has created.

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Blog Tour (Book Review) – A Prison in the Sun – Isabel Blackthorn

A Prison in the Sun banner

Hello!

Today is my stop on the blog tour for ‘A Prison in the Sun’ by Isabel Blackthorn, organised by Damppebbles Blog Tours. I was delighted to participate in this tour, and I hope that you will check out both the author and the book.

*Disclaimer: ‘I was given a copy this book in exchange for an honest review.’*

A Prison in the Sun cover

 

Book Summary:

After millennial ghostwriter Trevor Moore rents an old farmhouse in Fuerteventura, he moves in to find his muse.

Instead, he discovers a rucksack filled with cash. Who does it belong to – and should he hand it in… or keep it?

Struggling to make up his mind, Trevor unravels the harrowing true story of a little-known concentration camp that incarcerated gay men in the 1950s and 60s.

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Book Review: Devil’s Ballast – Meg Caddy

Hello!

I found ‘Devil’s Ballast’ while browsing through netgalley, and the cover and summary immediately caught my attention, and I haven’t been able to put it down so here I am to share my love for this story.

*Disclaimer e-copy received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

The Devils Ballast

Book Summary

Anne Bonny was eighteen when she ran away from her violent husband, James, into the arms of pirate captain Calico Jack Rackham. Now she’s ensconced aboard Jack’s ship Ranger, passing as a cabin boy and playing her ruthless part in a crew that is raining down mayhem and murder on the ships of the Caribbean. But James Bonny is willing to pay to get his ‘property’ back. And pirate-hunter Captain Barnet is happy to take his money. The Ranger’s a fast ship: Anne might just be able to outrun Barnet. But can she outrun the consequences of her relationship with Calico Jack?

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Blog Tour (Book Review): Nobody’s Heroes – Steven Jacob

Blog Tour

Nobody’s Heroes – Steven Jacob

@damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours

Nobody's Heroes banner

Hello!

Today is my stop on the blog tour for ‘Nobody’s Heroes’ by Steven Jacob, organised by Damppebbles Blog Tours. I was delighted to participate in this tour, and to read a fascinating book outside my usual genres, and I hope that you will check out both the author and the book.

*Disclaimer: ‘I was given a copy this book in exchange for an honest review.’*

Nobody's Heroes cover

Book Summary:

Reuben Ayers in on the come-up. He makes a deal with Tammany Hall to spy on the African American regiment out of Harlem during World War I. As he works his way into the regiment, befriending Jim Europe, bandleader; and his friend Noble Sissle, he begins to understand the power of altruism. Though too late he realizes that he has sacrificed too much for the wrong thing.

In an effort to repent his betrayal of his people, he sets out on a quest to save the child he did not know he had and to repair the relationships that he sundered during his climb to the political heights. Only through his friendships forged on the battlefield is he able to come to the conclusion that his fight must change if he is to save his soul.

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